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No escape: Judge warns suspects on the run


Mar 28, 2015 04:27:54 PM

No escape: Judge warns suspects on the run A high court judge says people on the run should learn that the 2013 Constitution allows for trial in absentia.

Presiding over what is being regarded the oldest murder case in the country; Justice Salesi Temo says the best way for people to defend themselves is by turning up in court.

“If they are brave enough to commit a crime then they should be brave enough to come to the dock and challenge the charges.

“If they are not guilty, they will be released. If they are guilty, then they will have to face the punishment like a man.”

On the run are Noa Rafaele and Ilivasi Navunicagi.  Fijian authorities have since followed up and checked at their last known locations, but the searches have so far turned up empty handed.

The two are among five charged with the death of retired civil servant and shopkeeper John Leonard Dass during a home invasion early 22 August 2010 at his residence in Natokowaqa in Lautoka.

The other three suspects are Sireli Lilo who is currently serving a sentence for a separate case in the Natabua prison, Iliesa Vakabua and Eparama Tamanikawatabua who were both in attendance in the Suva High Court yesterday. All five suspects face charges of aggravated robbery.

Prosecution has filed for trial in absentia. Trial has been tentatively set for 16-27 November this year. In the lead up to the trial, the case will be called again on 24 April to check on preparations progress.

Justice Temo reminded the counsels of his intentions to close the case this year.


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